No. 5 Gators again shut out Bulldogs for softball sweep

Special to Gatorsports.com

STARKVILLE, Miss. — The fifth-ranked Florida softball team completed the SEC series sweep of Mississippi State, all three wins by shutout. Sunday's version with 8-0 run-rule, as Elizabeth Hightower (10-0) held MSU to just two hits and Kinsey Goelz belted her second home run of the series.

The Gators (21-2, 5-1 SEC) have shut out an SEC opponent in a road series for the first time since 2009 at LSU. The Bulldogs drop to 15-11, 0-6).

In the top of the second inning, Goelz put the Gators on the scoreboard, 2-0, and set the tone for the afternoon when she crushed her second career home run off of MSU starting pitcher Annie Willis (7-2). Jaimie Hoover reached earlier in the inning when she was hit by pitch.

Florida extended its lead to 8-0 with a six-run explosion in the fourth. With one out, Cheyenne Lindsey, Hannah Adams and Kendyl Lindaman notched back-to-back-to-back singles off Willis to load the bases.

Charla Echols then drew a walk that scored Lindsey and pushed the UF lead out to 3-0 and force Willis from the circle. Bulldogs reliever Aspen Wesley entered the game but Avery Goelz drew the same result and extended the lead out to 4-0 as she plated Adams after watching four consecutive balls.

Jordan Matthews busted game open, 6-0, when she dropped an RBI single that scored pinch-runner Baylee Goddard and Echols raced home after the Bulldogs committed a throwing error during the play.

Julia Cottrill capped the scoring and the Gators an 8-0 lead with her two-RBI single back up the middle of the Bulldogs defense that scored Avery Goelz and pinch-runner Katie Kistler.

Florida now has 11 shutouts on the season and is one of eight teams to have 10 or more shutouts. Florida pitching has held opponents to five hits or less 20 out of 23 games played.

The Gators next play at UCF on Wednesday at 6 p.m. before hosting LSU starting Friday.